One thing you quickly learn as a parent: What you once thought was completely realistic about your life, your concept of time, your daily events and expectations…is now laughable. Realism now looks like showers every other day and flipping other parents off while you commandeer the after-school pick-up lane (my kids are not of school-age yet, but I’ve heard the stories). So I understand that amid the chaos of child-rearing we must let unrealistic, magical things happen once in a while so our kids can be just that – kids. This is why I have always loved books – realistic or not, they’re a wonderful way to feed the imagination.
So before I continue on about unrealism, let me just say that I love reading to my daughter each night before bed. I’m so thankful she’s a book nerd like her mother. I’ll agree to read anything from her collection. And like most children, my daughter has a pile of favorites we read often. One of those favorites is Disney’s Cuddly Princess Pals. It’s a cute book, really. It’s just that lately I can’t help but notice how unrealistic the words sound coming out of my mouth when reading it. I mean, what the heck am I teaching my daughter? Let’s have a look:
This book is about three adorable pets that get “adopted” in one way or another by Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora.
First up: Berry – “The Sweetest Bunny.”
This bunny’s probably the most realistic animal in the book. She falls in serious like with Snow White one day while the princess is out picking blueberries and follows her back to the castle, unbeknownst to Snow White. Okay, so far so good. But waitaminute – “Snow White was surprised to find Berry hiding in her bucket of blueberries!” the same bucket she had gathered blueberries from for baking a pie. Umm…eww? Can’t say I’m down with that, princess.
Berry’s story ends with her becoming the royal bunny – and sharing all her meals with Snow White. Sorry, daughter of mine…you will never be allowed to eat your meals alongside a hangry, needy bunny who is on a perpetual cleanse.
Moving on: Pumpkin – “The Dancing Puppy”
Pumpkin is one of my daughter’s favorites. I can’t really blame her – just look at that cute face and big eyes. Sucker! Cinderella’s prince adopted Pumpkin for her and even gave the dog her own tiara. Because that’s practical. I’m super excited for the day my little girl wants to bring a dog home, give it a crown and a sparkly bow and necklace and buy it a water dish with a glass slipper on it. I’m going to have to give Dave Ramsey a call and ask for advice on how to afford my diva dog spawned by Paris Hilton herself.
I get it, folks, I love dogs too. But what happens next is one part sweet and a dozen parts worrisome:
They prance together at ALL the royal balls! So basically the prince is chopped liver (which would never get fed to Pumpkin unless it were organic). After everything he’s done for Cinderella? Really? As a huge Cinderella fan, I’m disappointed in my girl. And what about the weirdness in the fact that Cinderella only dances with a dog at these social functions? Awkward. No, thank you, I can’t say there’s a valuable lesson here. Luckily my daughter is 3 and dancing with a dog is totally acceptable for another year or two.
Saving the best for last: Beauty – “The Sleepy Kitty”
Alright, princess Aurora, I’ve got some beef to pick with you. I mean come ON. Napping? Again? Then again, if I had three bossy tiny women hovering around me all the time I’d probably never want to wake up either…
So Aurora discovers this sleeping kitten who matches her dress color perfectly and she’s all excited to keep her because napping alone is seriously boring.
So as I read this last part of the book to my daughter I start to feel my blood pressure go up. Sometimes I change the end slightly so I don’t set her up for total disappointment in life. Something like, “Before long, the kitty was spayed so that she didn’t keep breeding lazy pets and Aurora began contributing around the house more.” But alas, this is how it actually plays out:
Man, Prince Phillip, I was really feeling sorry for you for a minute. But if we’re going to live in your fantasy land, let’s go ahead and add some wine to that tray and sub out the sweets for some bread and cheese, mmkay? I mean if we’re going to be totally lazy we might as well chub out.
I guess the lessons I can teach my daughter from this book include: Don’t eat animal feces, adopt a pet stick and get your iron levels checked. Have I missed anything?